What is faceted navigation

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What is faceted navigation

Faceted navigation is a navigation mode available to the Internet user. It is generally applied on e-commerce sites or on marketplaces, and which allows users to navigate on different facets of a product. Imagine that you sell green or white shirts and pants in sizes S and XL. Some users will specifically want shirts, some will want black pants, and some will want round, black, XL items. Faceted navigation was born in order to make the use and the search of the product easier for the user. Here are some pointers on what faceted navigation is and how to consider it in your SEO strategy.

The search gets easier

If your visitor has a precise idea, or almost, of the type of product they are looking for or the budget they wish to spend, they will be able to select the criteria of their choice in just a few clicks. They will then come across the list of products that correspond to their expectations and needs.

Wasted Crawl Budget

Google only devotes a limited amount of resources to crawling your site. This is called the crawl budget. Some faceted navigation implementations create a crawlable link for each available combination. Without mentioning “index bloat” again, this means that you are potentially generating millions of URLs for Google to crawl, and you need to worry about optimizing your crawl budget.

When is it best seized

Faceted navigation is a must for well-filled ecommerce sites, but if your site has only thirty or so products, you may wonder about the usefulness of applying this type of navigation. It is advisable to apply faceted navigation as soon as a category must contain at least 3 different facets. On each facet, it is imperative to have more than 5 products displayed.

Plug-ins on your CMS

On WordPress, there are plug-ins that make it easy to set up a faceted navigation based on the filters you want. Your titles, title tags, meta descriptions and even your texts can be generated semi-automatically.  Based on a common variable text, you can differentiate your pages.  The only problem is if you don’t have any articles in a category, your CMS will still create a page.

Remember: reconciling faceted navigation and SEO is as much a matter of strategic reflection as it is of technical reflection on the concrete implementation.